The US Homeland Security and Justice departments released a report Wednesday, including four pages with two pie charts, showing that one out of every five prisoners in US custody was born in a foreign country and most of those had entered the US illegally.
The report itself doesn’t rise to the level of news for us, but Fox News carried the report and emphasized a statistic its news editors felt underscored an important element of the Trump presidency:
Departments of Justice and Homeland Security Release Data on Incarcerated Aliens—94 Percent of All Confirmed Aliens in DOJ Custody Are Unlawfully Present https://t.co/GfV0YX1Zeg
— Justice Department (@TheJusticeDept) December 21, 2017
“These statistics, which for political correctness reasons we were prevented from knowing in recent years, show that this country is, in effect, importing a criminal class,” said Fox anchor Mark Steyn. “And it does not check any aspect of the criminal class it imports.”
Putting this report in perspective is important. Another way to view these data is that about 800,000 foreign-born people are in the US under the protection of DACA, President Barack Obama’s program that defers deportation for these illegal aliens as long as they register and fulfill other requirements.
As I grew up and as a young adult, I have worked with many, many foreign-born people, and some of them were no doubt in the country illegally. Working with and befriending these individuals led me to understand other cultures and look at the world from several points of view. For example, I celebrated Diwali with co-workers from India. I put special emphasis on Our Lady of Guadalupe along with my friends from Mexico.
These friends were in the US because they, like me, wanted a better life for themselves and those they loved. Their homes were filled with love, and they were kind not just to other immigrants but also to US-born Americans. They expressed mostly gratitude for what the US had brought them, not regret, not hatred, and certainly not any desire to go back. And for their children, whose only understanding of the world came from what they had seen in the US, going back would have brought catastrophic consequences.
I want to point out to Fox News that, while the federal report certainly presents factual information about the statistics, failing to put the numbers in perspective as representing less than 5 percent of the immigrants who are in the US now, is a misrepresentation of the truth, a mockery of US immigration policy.
Every barrel has a few bad apples, but the overwhelming majority of people coming to the US from Haiti don’t have AIDS. The overwhelming majority of people coming from Nigeria don’t live in huts. And the overwhelming majority of Muslims coming to the US aren’t terrorists and have no ill feelings toward the US.